UPDATE: HP has contacted PCR with the following statement:
"On January 24, in cooperation with various government regulatory agencies, HP is announcing the expansion of a June 2016 worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement program for certain notebook computer batteries. This recall involves HP lithium-ion battery packs for notebook computers sold worldwide from March 2013 through October 2016. Less than 1% of all HP notebook computers sold during this timeframe contained an affected battery. HP will provide a replacement battery for each verified, affected battery, at no cost. HP encourages customers to validate their batteries on the HP Battery Recall website at: http://www.HP.com/go/batteryprogram2016."
HP has asked owners of some laptops to send their batteries in to be replaced to make sure that they don’t catch on fire. Where have we heard this one before?
Unlike the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has said that around 101,000 computers are affected as opposed to an entire product range. Owners of HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario and HP Pavilion laptops purchased between March 2013 and October 2016 have been urged check their lithium-ion battery. If its bar code starts with 6BZLU, 6CGFK, 6CGFQ, 6CZMB, 6DEMA, 6DEMH, 6DGAL or 6EBVA, the company will replace it gratis.
The CPSC notice also states that HP has received an "additional report of the battery overheating, melting and charring and causing about $1,000 in property damage". This comes after the company initially issued a recall for 41,000 batteries in June 2016.
Lithium-ion batteries have been a hot topic (pun absolutely intended) for some time, with the Note 7 debacle of 2016 being the perfect example of what can go wrong. If constructed poorly, they are prone to overheating and catching fire. This is not the first time that HP has had battery woes. The company has recalled hundreds of thousands of batteries over the past several years for the exact same reason.
Unfortunately, electronics manufacturers and scientific whizzes haven’t managed to come up with a better battery technology, or find a way to prevent lithium-ion batteries from overheating. Until a solution is found, we will likely see many more recalls as products become more and more processor intensive.